There are dangers to swallowing too much toothpaste, and as parents, it’s good to be aware of what your children are putting into their bodies, even if it’s unintentional. So how much is enough and what ages to these amounts change? Very valid questions!
HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?
Before we look at how much toothpaste to use, let’s address the question of “What if my child swallows the toothpaste when they’re brushing?” Most toothpaste has fluoride in them which helps strengthen your child’s teeth. Too much of this can cause minor stomach irritation that could even include vomiting, but swallowing just a little bit doesn’t cause much problem. Just be sure that until they get the hang of spitting, that they are supervised during teeth brushing.
From the time your child begins to brush on their own until about age three, children only need a small smear of toothpaste to get the job done. This is because a smear greatly reduces the amount of fluoride that could potentially be consumed by your child. After about age three, a small pea sized amount is appropriate. Be sure not to give them too much fluoride before the age of six, as this can cause cosmetic discoloration such as white or brown spots.
By the age of six, your child should be able to adequately brush, spit and use mouthwash on their own and monitoring the amount that they use becomes a non-issue.
Be sure to call our office soon to schedule your child’s next checkup. One of the things we will do on your visit is demonstrate to you and your child how much a pea sized amount of toothpaste is different from simply a smear. We look forward to hearing from you soon and working with you to help your child establish healthy oral habits!